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So, what would you make from this?


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Hi gang-

I am in need of a few design ideas. Here is the story:

Two years ago a friend of mine was over for dinner. He says "So I took down this maple tree and was cutting it up for fire wood and it looks like it might be curly maple. I brought a piece, want to see it?"....

Well, YEAH. So we went out to his car and he pulled this out of his trunk:2014-04-05155845_zps8e3b5ce5.jpg

"so is this curly maple?"

"Well, yes. Technically it's quilted maple."

"oh"

"that's better"

"OH!"

"Tell me you didn't cut up the rest of the tree."

"oh"

"crap"

Well. Long story short: He still had about 4 feet left from the base of the tree. We were able to pull it and have it a saw mill cut it into planks. I was having some other logs milled, so the guy was willing to do this one too for next to nothing.

now it's 2 1/2 years later and I have this:

2014-04-05154431_zps7feef9fb.jpg

The boards are 18 inches at the wide end and 14" inches or so in the middle. They are 5/8 inch thick and vary in quality of figure.

2014-04-05155609_zps904d0161.jpg

I kept them in order so I can easily book match. I also have this:

2014-04-05155907_zpsdceebda1.jpg

Not as exciting I will admit. It is 3" thick walnut that was also kept in the order it came off the saw, so I can book match it as well.

So, I need some design inspiration. I am thinking walnut body with maple cap. For the neck.... I don't know. Plain maple? figured maple? walnut? I would like to try my hand at carving and shaping the cap. This will be the 5th guitar I have built, so I'm not a complete rookie, but far from experienced. The others were tele and strat copies and I am trying to stretch my wings a little bit on the design end of things.

Any thoughts?

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OMG what a loss :( I always wonder how much amazingly figured wood is lost to firewood, plywood, etc. simply because no one's watching for it, or cares, and it's too expensive to be worried about that stuff in an industrial setting. 5/8" is what some Gibson tops are aren't they? You could easily get away with selling a bunch of that to LP builders as 1-piece tops. If I remember correctly the shallower of the LPs is carved to 3/8-1/2" leaving 1/4"-1/8" at the edge, which they bind over?

But hands down feel free to color me jealous. That's an AMAZING find! Especially at the prices it seems like you probably got it!
Chris

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yeah, my heart sunk when he told me he split all the wood. But at least we got some of it. He would like to make a humidor, with accents of quilted maple, but that can all come out of the firewood pieces I saved.

I probably should have had the sawyer cut some thicker, but I was trying to maximize the wood. What do you think about a one piece cap versus book matched? I could do either. Carving down to 1/8" at the edge and then binding makes sense. I don't suppose I could laminate two pieces back together to get a thicker cap. The glue line would show when I colored the cap.

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I can't even remember what the question was, I'm just super jealous you've got slabs of awesome looking figured maple.

Thanks! It's not all 100% perfect. Some of the slabs that went through the heart of the tree only have decent figure on the margins. Big question is what to build with it that would be unique... and how much carving/shaping can I do with the 5/8 thickness (rough cut). Also I would like to use walnut as the body wood, so what do I do with the neck? Walnut? Figured maple? Basically I need design inspiration!

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Design up something new! Truly a shape of your own. Walnut makes a perfectly good body and neck wood. I'd say design a singlecut shape, hollow the body a bit. Walnut body and neck with carved (1/2" worth) quilted maple top. Bind with something to cover that 1/8" carved edge. Maple something simple like holly. Easy to bend, will stand out against the walnut, maybe put a single .020" black fiber purfling line between the maple and holly to stand it out.

If you truly just want a spec sheet I'm happy to, that's one of my favorite parts of building hahahahah.
Chris

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Design up something new! Truly a shape of your own. Walnut makes a perfectly good body and neck wood. I'd say design a singlecut shape, hollow the body a bit. Walnut body and neck with carved (1/2" worth) quilted maple top. Bind with something to cover that 1/8" carved edge. Maple something simple like holly. Easy to bend, will stand out against the walnut, maybe put a single .020" black fiber purfling line between the maple and holly to stand it out.

If you truly just want a spec sheet I'm happy to, that's one of my favorite parts of building hahahahah.

Chris

Glad to hear that Walnut can work as a neck wood. I wasn't sure it had the strength. I have never built a guitar with a binding before, but I think this time I will attempt it. Are there problems with the walnut dust contaminating a wooden binding (like holly, which sound gorgeous)?

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Hmmmm.... I'm going to guess no. Mainly the issues with binding grabbing color are with very vibrant and/or oily woods. Think rosewoods, padauk, bloodwood, etc. when paired next to a light binding wood. However, Holly really doesn't have any pores and walnut doesn't really fit the bill for a stain-prone wood when it comes to dust. My initial reaction would be a no. However, it never hurts to make up a test swatch. A test binding scrap is fast and easy to put together. I did one for my Marlin Acoustic build to make sure the concept was feasible:
2d63891b.jpg

This might also help:


Chris
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